What is a lumbar facet syndrome? My doctor says this is what I've got. All I know is there's a lot of low back pain on one side. I can hardly sit or twist to one side.

Lumbar facet syndrome is a term used to describe a pattern of pain. The patient usually has:

  • pain with back extension
  • decreased low back range of motion, especially in extension and rotation (turning to one side)
  • pain or tenderness over the facet joint of the spine
  • pain that is described as "deep aching"
  • pain in the low back on one side, both sides, or back and buttock pain
  • pain going down as far as the knee but not causing foot pain

    Some of these symptoms also occur with a disc problem. If the doctor has ruled out a disc problem, the term lumbar facet syndrome (LFS) is often used. It describes a biomechanical problem of the joint but could also include changes in the ligaments and muscles.

    There isn't a specific test to prove someone has LFS and the exact cause of the pain remains unknown.